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Archive for January, 2013

Her footsteps sounded hollow on the unfinished wood floor as she paced. He lifted his gaze to study her. Her skirts nearly touched the freshly sanded floor as she braced her hands on either side of her hips. Her brow furrowed, lips twisted into an expression of anxiety.

“I’m sorry,” he said.

She turned and faced him. “Sorry?”

“For putting you to all this trouble.” He realized he didn’t even know his rescuer’s name. “I’m Jack Lawton, by the way and you are…?”

She pursed her full lips. “Miss Montgomery.”

“You don’t have a first name?” he asked.

“Sir, we are strangers to one another.” Her face reddened.

“But I gave you my first name.” He spread his hands.

She propped her hands on her hips. “My father would have a conniption fit if I gave my Christian name to a strange man. On the other hand, my step-mother…” Her lips curved into the hint of a smile. “…always introduces herself by her first name to the consternation of my father.” She lifted her chin as if appraising Jack. “I’m Amanda.”

Jack smiled but winced as a shot of pain sliced through his skull. “Amanda Montgomery. I’ll be sure to remember that name.” He lifted his hand. “Now, if you could assist me to the front door.”

She stretched her arm down toward him, and he used the wall to hoist himself so he wouldn’t put all his weight on her.

A brief wave of dizziness halted his progress, but he steadied himself. “Lead on.”

By the time they reached the door, he realized how eerily familiar this house looked. Almost as if the house he’d been in had traveled back in time. Could the new owner have changed his mind and decided to rebuild the place?

Amanda threw open the door.

Jack’s mouth gaped. Not only was his car gone, but the entire block was transformed. What had been a paved walk and blacktop street was now packed dirt.

Heat rose to his cheeks. “Where’s my car? Did they tow it away to tear up the street?” He couldn’t have been unconscious long enough.

“I don’t know what you mean.” Amanda’s gaze scanned the road.

Jack froze in the doorway, not sure what to do. This was insane. He had no car, no cell phone or ID. If he made it to his house, would it even be there? For one chilling moment, he wasn’t sure.

Amanda glanced at him, then back at the road, not saying anything for a long moment. “Mr. Lawton, if you’re able to walk a short distance, I’ll take you to my home. My step-mother may know how to help you.”

Thoroughly Modern Amanda is available from The Wild Rose Press http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=176_135&products_id=5074

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Thoroughly-Modern-Amanda-ebook/dp/B00AQAIHHW/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1355948640&sr=1-1&keywords=Thoroughy+Modern+Amanda

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/thoroughly-modern-amanda-susan-macatee/1114008539?ean=2940016112596

and All Romance Ebooks https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thoroughlymodernamanda-1026307-141.html

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Today is the next installment on my Victorian women writers series. The subject is Sarah Margaret Fuller.

Margaret Fuller was born in 1810. Her father, wanting a son, was disappointed. Timothy Fuller was a member of Congress and Speaker of the Massachusetts House. Although he didn’t get a son, he educated his daughter the same as any young man of his class might receive.

By age fifteen, Margaret, the name she went by, studied reading, literature, philosophy, four languages, including German; she walked, sang and played the piano.

In 1830, her family moved to Cambridge where she met people in the Transcendentalist Movement. Emerson, Thoreau, Bronson Alcott and W. H. Channing were among those she socialized with. She instantly impressed those around her.

Her father died in 1835, which forced Margaret to become a school teacher to support both herself and her family. She worked at Alcott’s progressive TempleSchool in Boston, then accepted a post in Providence, Rhode Island in 1837.

Margaret missed the intellectual circles she’d become a part of in Boston and saw teaching as a means to an end. She returned to Boston in 1838.

She published her translation of Eckerman’s Conversations With Goethe in the Last Years of His Life in May of 1839. She supported herself by holding “Converstations” for women on poetry, ethics, Greek mythology, as well as other subjects. She believed women were educated purely for display, but not to enable them to think for themselves.

Between May and September of 1843, Margaret, along with friends, toured the Midwest. When she returned to Boston, she wrote an account of her trip. In June 1844, it was published as Summer on the Lakes.

She sympathized with the Indians’ plight and betrayal by whites. And she worried about attempts to force eastern standards on them at the expense of losing their culture.

Summer on the Lakes helped Margaret gain recognition as a writer. And she caught the attention of Horace Greely. He hired her as a literary critic and general essayist for the New York Tribune. When she moved to New   York she was working on her next book, “The Great Lawsuit”.

In answer to the woman question, she wrote: “…is not as a woman to act or rule, but as a nature to grow, as an intellect to discern, as a soul to live freely, and unimpeded to unfold such powers as were given her when she left our common home.”

She wrote 250 reviews and essays for the Tribune during the year and a half she worked there. She wrote on such topics as women’s prisons, immigrant slums, city hospitals and social issues of capital punishment, the abolitionist movement, the war on Mexico and the treatment of madness.

She sailed for England in 1846 as one of the first American “foreign correspondents”. By 1847, she’d moved to Rome. She established a relationship with Giovanni Ossoli and they had a son, Angelo, in September of 1848. When Rome fell to French troops in 1849, they escaped and moved to Rieti, the Florence.

The following May, she and Ossoli set sail for America, but were caught in a storm. The ship was wrecked fifty yards off of Fire Island, within sight of New York City. Her son’s body and her manuscripts were never found.

For more information on Sarah Margaret Fuller, visit these sites:

http://college.cengage.com/english/lauter/heath/4e/students/author_pages/early_nineteenth/fuller_sa.html

http://transcendentalism.tamu.edu/authors/fuller/

http://www.trincoll.edu/depts/phil/philo/phils/fuller.html

http://www.ohio.edu/chastain/dh/fuller.htm

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I’m following the Civil War timeline for January 25, 1863. President Lincoln did some firing and hiring on this day in history. Find out all about it at Slip Into Something Victorian.

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“If only I could meet someone like you,” he told the picture. “But you’re from another world, a simpler time.” He raked a hand through his hair. “Now I’m talking to photos. Go to sleep, Jack.” He carefully propped the picture back on his desk and settled on the bed, reaching over to set the alarm for the morning.

He drifted to sleep with the image of the woman seated on a bench in a Victorian garden.

“Jack?”

He glanced up into the most incredible blue eyes. Like sapphires.

“Excuse me?”

The woman shook her head, the large blue flowers atop her hat bobbing. “You promised me a tour of our house.” Her full lips quirked upward.

He swallowed. This was the woman in the photo, but instead of a black and white tintype, he was gazing at a beautiful, flesh and blood woman. Her reddish-gold hair was piled up under her hat, a few loose tendrils curled past her ears. A high-necked gown draped over her legs, completely covering her toes. Seated in an outdoor gazebo, she watched him intently.

“I’ve been waiting so long to see it finished.” She reached out a gloved hand and motioned for him to sit.

Her eyes so mesmerized him, he brushed against the gazebo pillar, nearly losing his balance. Her bright smile drew a grin from him.

Before he sat, he glanced over his shoulder. This was the house! The one being demolished, but it was new.

“Where am I?” he demanded of the woman. “And who are you?”

“Jack, are you quite all right?” Her smile faded into a frown. “I’m Amanda. I rescued you.”

“Huh?”

A loud buzz pulled him away. He jerked upright.

“What the hell?” He rubbed his face. His subconscious had mixed the photo and the house into a crazy dream.

Collapsing onto the bed, he groaned. He glanced toward the window, noting the sky was still dark, the streetlights still on. The last thing he felt like doing was going back to work on a remodel of a supermarket, but he needed the paycheck. Bad.

He pushed himself off the bed and grabbed a shirt to slip over his head. On the way to the bathroom, he clicked on the lamp, and his gaze fell on the photo of the woman. The woman in the dream said her name was Amanda. Maybe after work, he’d do a little investigating to see if he could find out who had lived in the house prior to the twentieth century.

As he washed his face, his pulse raced. He stared into the mirror. Waiting until the workday was done would be practical, but he realized he had to know now. He had to go back to the house, before it was torn down.

He grabbed his phone and punched in his boss’s number. “Hey, Ron,” he said when the man picked up. “I’m really sick. Don’t think I can make it in today.”

Ron sighed. “Okay. You feel that bad, I think we can make do.”

Jack held back his sigh of relief. He wouldn’t be happy with a short paycheck next week, but he had to go to the house today. He couldn’t explain it.

“Thanks, Ron.”

“If you don’t think you can make it tomorrow, call me tonight, so I can find a few temp helpers to add to the work crew.”

“Okay, I will. Thanks again.” Jack closed his cell and leaned against the wall, still not sure why he’d felt impelled to call out.

He stepped to the counter and rinsed his coffee pot in the sink. After a cup of coffee and whatever he could find in the fridge to eat, he’d drive to the house and have a look around.

After gulping the last mouthful of coffee, he stepped toward his desk and the photo of the young woman. On impulse, he stuffed the picture into his inside jacket pocket.

An hour later, he walked up to the porch of the house on the corner of Wendover Street. He glanced up and down the block. The few people strolling by took no notice of him. He knocked, but was sure Shane Bradley wasn’t around this early in the morning. Problem was, he couldn’t gain access to the inside if the man wasn’t in. After a few minutes, he heaved a sigh and turned to go. He had Bradley’s cell number. Maybe he could call him.

But an intuitive hunch made him spin back to the door. He tried the knob, and the door creaked open. He glanced around once again to be sure no one watched him. The last thing he needed was cops showing up to arrest him for trespassing.

The door opened inward, inviting him to enter. Slipping through the threshold, he gently closed the door and leaned against it.

What the hell am I doing?

Thoroughly Modern Amanda is available from The Wild Rose Press http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=176_135&products_id=5074

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Thoroughly-Modern-Amanda-ebook/dp/B00AQAIHHW/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1355948640&sr=1-1&keywords=Thoroughy+Modern+Amanda

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/thoroughly-modern-amanda-susan-macatee/1114008539?ean=2940016112596

and All Romance Ebooks https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thoroughlymodernamanda-1026307-141.html

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In my new time travel romance, Thoroughly Modern Amanda, the heroine’s step-mother is from our time, remaining in the past to be with Amanda’s father. She was a reporter in the present time and became one, despite male opposition in the 1860s, but later settled down to write novels.

One of the inspirations for this character was nineteenth century writer, Louisa May Alcott.

Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania on November 29, 1832. While she was still young her family relocated to Boston, Massachusetts. She obtained most of her education from her father, who was a teacher. The family later moved to Concord where author and friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson, helped them set up residence. http://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper/ALCOTT/ABOUTLA.html

Louisa received guidance from him as well as Theodore Parker and was also instructed by Henry David Thoreau.

She began writing at an early age and penned her first book by age sixteen. Louisa also helped her family make ends meet by taking in sewing, and working as a teacher and domestic servant. She tried acting at age seventeen, but preferred to write plays, rather than perform in them.

At age 30, she entered the nursing sevice at the Union Hospital in Georgetown in 1862. While there, she contracted typhoid fever. She recovered, but suffered the effects of mercury poisoning the rest of her life. At the time calomel (a drug laden with mercury) was used by doctors as a cure for typhoid.

While in Washington, Louisa wrote Hospital Sketches, published in 1863, followed by Moods in 1864.

She next produced the novel, Little Women, published September 30, 1868. She based the book on her own experience growing up. The book sold more than 2,000 copies. She next wrote a second volume that sold more than 13,000 copies.

Sources: In Hospital and Camp by Harold Elk Straubing, Stockpole Books 1993

ISBN 0-8117-1631-7

http://www.louisamayalcott.org/louisamaytext.html

http://www.womenwriters.net/domesticgoddess/lma.htm

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Join me at the Romance Madness Hop at The Romance Reviews – January 25-29, 2013.

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He tossed in bed, the nightshirt wrapped around his body. How did any man sleep in a thing like this?

Swearing, he lifted the sheet and grasped the hem, yanking the garment up around his waist. He undid the buttons and lifted it over his head, tossing the shirt to the floor.

He breathed a sigh of relief but was now completely naked. With women coming in and out of his room, he’d have to find the clothing he’d arrived in.

Grasping the sheet, he rose slowly. Slight dizziness swept over him, but once he sat upright, it faded. He held the bedpost and stood, wrapping the sheet around his waist. He shuffled across the floor to a chest of drawers. He hoped his clothes hadn’t been taken to the wash. Then he’d really be in deep shit.

He opened one of the drawers and found male clothing, although he wasn’t sure it was his. Maybe Amanda’s brother. Glancing toward the screen, he noticed a pile of folded clothes on top of the dresser.

He stepped toward the clothing but stopped at the sound of a click. His gaze slipped to the door. Someone was turning the knob. He held his breath and clutched the sheet around his waist.

The door cracked, followed by a gasp.

“Sorry. I’m not quite decent,” Jack called out.

Amanda stood wide-eyed, staring at him. Instead of apologizing and leaving, she stood gazing in through the partially open door.

Jack grimaced. “I’m trying to find some clothes.”

“Where’s your nightshirt?” She glanced toward the heap of cloth on the floor by the bed. “Oh!”

“I needed to take it off,” Jack explained. “Too confining.”

She bit her lip, her eyes bright. Her hand rose to her lips. Was she stifling a giggle?

“Jack…the clothes you were wearing when I found you are on top of the dresser.” She bit her lip, peering at him, her gaze lingering on his chest.

He wrapped the sheet tightly around him and stepped toward the dresser. Sorting through the clothes with one hand, holding the sheet with the other, he produced what looked like underpants, although they appeared to be knee-length.

He padded back to the bed, noting Amanda glanced toward the hall. Serve her right if her father caught her spying.

“Are you going to stand there and watch? Why’d you come anyway?”

Amanda swallowed. “Of course not. I just thought I should check on you…to see if you needed anything.” She appeared to be suppressing laughter at his predicament.

He shuffled to the bed but turned back once to scowl. “So glad I amuse you,” he muttered. “As you can see, I’m fine. You can leave now.”

She giggled, then quieted. “I’m sorry, but you do look funny walking about in a sheet.”

“You wouldn’t think it was so funny if I dropped it.” He plopped onto the bed.

Her face turned beet red. “You wouldn’t dare,” she challenged.

He grinned. “Don’t bet on it.”

Thoroughly Modern Amanda is available from The Wild Rose Press http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=176_135&products_id=5074

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Thoroughly-Modern-Amanda-ebook/dp/B00AQAIHHW/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1355948640&sr=1-1&keywords=Thoroughy+Modern+Amanda

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/thoroughly-modern-amanda-susan-macatee/1114008539?ean=2940016112596

and All Romance Ebooks https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thoroughlymodernamanda-1026307-141.html

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